Sun | Jun 17, 2018

'I just signed your death warrant', says judge at Ex-USA Olympic gymnastics doctor's sentencing

Published:Wednesday | January 24, 2018 | 1:04 PM
Larry Nassar looks at the gallery in the court during the sixth day of his sentencing hearing Tuesday, January 23, in Lansing, Michigan. – AP Photo

LANSING, Michigan (AP):
The former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation's top gymnasts for years was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison as the judge declared: "I just signed your death warrant."

The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing in which scores of Larry Nassar's victims were able to confront him face to face in a Michigan courtroom.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said Nassar's "decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable."

"It is my honour and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again. You have done nothing to control those urges and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable."

Nassar found competitive gymnastics to be a "perfect place" for his crimes because victims saw him as a "god" in the sport, a prosecutor said Wednesday, shortly before the former doctor was to be sentenced for years of molesting Olympic gymnasts and other young women.

"It takes some kind of sick perversion to not only assault a child but to do so with her parent in the room," prosecutor Angela Povilaitis said. "To do so while a line-up of eager young gymnasts waited."

She described the "breadth and ripple" of Nassar's sexual abuse as "nearly infinite."

"What does it say about our society that victims of sexual abuse have to hide their pain for years when they did nothing wrong? What does it say about our society when victims do come forward ... and are treated as liars until proven true?" Povilaitis said.

Nassar turned to the courtroom gallery to make a brief statement, saying that the accounts of more than 150 victims had "shaken me to my core." He said "no words" can describe how sorry he is for his crimes.

"I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days" he said as many of his accusers wept.

He faces a minimum prison term of 25 to 40 years.